Photo: PeopleImages/Getty Images
Attention! Attention! The news is finally here! There is actual proof that working many hours can lead to less productivity. I know, it’s shocking. But surprisingly enough, working long hours and working hard are two very different things. I’ve only been telling my teachers this since I was in 5th grade, and now there is finally proof. The Economist revealed that John Hicks, a British economist, said that, “probably it has never entered the heads of most employers…that hours could be shortened and output maintained.”
FINALLY. It is like someone was reading the minds of people everywhere. I know it comes as shocking to most bosses and teachers, but after about 11 hours of work in the span of 24 hours , your body and mind start to turn to mush. Somewhere along the 6th hour of work, you are exhausted and your productivity levels start to go down.
This study comes at a time where Britain was desperate to maximize productivity due to the insatiable demand for weapons and ammunition. HMWC had to provide the government with advice regarding the health and efficiency of workers in munitions plants. They needed to know how they could improve productivity. The research concluded that the British munition workers needed less hours.
The research states that there needs to be a significant drop in the amount of hours worked per week. Going from 60-55 would have hardly any effect, it needs to be a larger decrease.
As if this realization could get any better; the research also showed that work output is increased when people don’t work 7 days a week. People are much more productive with a 48 hour work week with a Sunday off rather than working 60 hours a week, 7 days a week.
This research goes to show that working long isn’t working hard. From now on, when my Dad gets home on a Friday and says, “I don’t need your attitude, I just worked a 60-hour work week,” I can now say, “But did you work hard?” He’s going to love that one.
Let’s hope that this research, and article, somehow circulate the web and employers all over the world decrease their workers’ hours and throw them a day, or two, off. While this most likely won’t happen, at least we know that when we start to become unproductive after an 11 hour work day, there is a really good reason why.